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Berkeleyside

The most important Berkeley stories of 2013

Spring storms over Berkeley. Photo: D.H. Parks
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2013 was a significant year for Berkeley residents, and not only because of what happened inside the city’s boundaries. This was the year the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and declined to consider the repeal of Prop 8 — two rulings that opened the way for gays to marry one another. (Two Berkeley women, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were the plaintiffs in the latter suit.) 2013 was also the year that sign-ups began for Affordable Health Care Act and that Congress let unemployment benefits lapse for millions, and sliced food stamp benefits. Berkeley residents were affected by all those developments. The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge opened and BART workers went on a disabling strike — twice.

But there were a number of developments unique to Berkeley that will change the shape of the city for years to come. Here are Berkeleyside’s selections for the most important stories of the year. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.02.13

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Berkeley to look at closing Domestic Partnership Registry

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Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality in California, Berkeley Councilman Darryl Moore believes the city’s Domestic Partnership Registry should be closed down.

The Domestic Partnership Registry affords everyone, be they in same-sex or heterosexual relationships, a place to have their relationships recognized by a government entity. A resolution proposing it be abolished drafted by Moore will be considered by the Berkeley City Council tomorrow.

If approved, the resolution would go into effect on Oct. 11, the 22nd anniversary of the registry’s creation as well as National Coming Out Day. The resolution also proposes making Oct. 11 Marriage Equality Day. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Berkeley celebrates Pride in San Francisco

Berkeley couple at pride
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Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the 43rd San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade yesterday. Always a popular event, it was especially so this year coming just four days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a Berkeley couple with four children, were there in triumph. The couple were lead plaintiffs in the legal challenge to Prop. 8. after they sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban. They were also first in line to be married at San Francisco City Hall on Friday afternoon. … Continue reading »

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Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

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Chefs at work in the re-opened Chez Panisse kitchen. Photo: Amanda Marsalis

Berkeley’s Chez Panisse reopened to the public on Monday, after the early-morning fire in March which shut Alice Waters’ landmark restaurant for nearly four months. Berkeleyside marked the reopening with an exclusive Waters interview and a photo gallery showing the slightly revamped interior. The Berkeley restaurant scene is of course far more than Chez Panisse and the Gourmet Ghetto. Berkeleyside this week broke the story that John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, owners of downtown hotspot Comal, are hoping to open a new restaurant in the Wright’s Garage space on Ashby Avenue in the Elmwood.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Prop. 8 couple first to marry after stay lifted

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Prop. 8 plaintiffs and Berkeley couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were married this afternoon by Attorney General Kamala Harris at San Francisco City Hall. The wedding took place at around 4:30 pm, shortly after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on the 2010 lower-court ruling that would clear the way for same-sex marriages, to begin immediately throughout California.

Perry and Stier were at the head of the line that formed at San Francisco City Hall to obtain marriage licenses and Harris rushed to City Hall to perform the first marriage. According to media, including KQED News and the Los Angeles Times, the couple were the first same-sex marriage in California since 2008.

At the event, Harris said: “Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, I now declare you spouses for life.” Once they were married, Perry exclaimed: “It was worth the wait!” … Continue reading »

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Obama lauds Berkeley couple who fought Prop. 8 and won

Kriss Perry and Sandy Stier
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Kris Perry and Sandy Stier are the Berkeley women who filed a legal challenge to Prop. 8. They first tried to marry in 2004 when then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing licenses. They are the parents of four boys.

Shortly after the Supreme Court released its ruling on Prop. 8 this morning, President Obama called the couple, who had been waiting at the court for the ruling, to congratulate them (see video above). … Continue reading »

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Rainbow flag marks Supreme Court cases

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The rainbow flag, a symbol of diversity and inclusiveness, was raised over Berkeley City Hall on Tuesday, to mark arguments in the US Supreme Court on Proposition 8. It will also fly tomorrow, during arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act.

“Berkeley is joining cities all around the country to show support for full equality,” said Judy Appel, a member of the school board, and executive director of Our Family Coalition, which promotes social justice and inclusiveness of LGBTQ families.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley couple at heart of Prop 8 case speak out

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After a federal judge ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional on Wednesday, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, the two women who brought the case, spoke out at a press conference in San Francisco.

One poignant thought from Perry: “For so long, Sandy and I and our family have been regarded as less than, unequal, not worthy of the pursuit of happiness under the law. This decision says that we are Americans, too. We, too, should be treated … Continue reading »

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New Elmwood restaurant seeks city approval tonight

A “very preliminary” rendering of the restaurant that has been approved for 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) by the owners of  Comal. Image: Abueg Morris Architects
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Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will tonight consider the application by the owners of Comal in downtown Berkeley to open a second restaurant in the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) in the Elmwood.

City planners are recommending that ZAB approve the proposal, which would entail granting an exception to the Elmwood quota system and agreeing to a midnight closing time on Fridays and Saturdays (an extension from 11:00 p.m.).

Many in the community support the plan, although there are also local residents who oppose it, principally on the grounds that it would cause parking headaches in the neighborhood.

Comal owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman envision that the yet-to-be-named spot would serve Northern Californian cuisine and have a full bar, including a menu of craft cocktails. The restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner. The atmosphere, energy and design would likely be similar to Comal, Paluska told Berkeleyside when we broke the news of the plan in June. … Continue reading »

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City pulls back on closing Domestic Partnership Registry

Councilman Darryl Moore. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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After briefly considering the closure of Berkeley’s Domestic Partnership Registry prior to this week’s City Council meeting, officials decided instead to simply celebrate its 22nd anniversary.

Councilman Darryl Moore had originally submitted an item for council review that would have closed down the registry following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in favor of marriage equality in California.

Said one member of the public, Leland Traiman, who spoke about the item, “It’s really window dressing at this point. It doesn’t mean anything.” Traiman is a gay rights activist who helped craft Berkeley’s domestic partnership policies. Those policies, adopted in 1984, were “the first time in world history same sex couples were granted any of the Rights of Marriage,” according to the city staff report prepared for the week’s council meeting.

Tuesday night, after some pushback from the public about his resolution, Moore submitted a revised item asking just that the council recognize the registry’s 22nd anniversary, and declare Oct. 11 “Marriage Equality Day” in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley celebrates historic Supreme Court decisions

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After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday allowing same sex marriages in California, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner got a text from her 31-year old daughter in New York. Sirona Skinner-Nixon and her girlfriend, Sinead O’Rourke, 34, had been glued to the news.

“Mom, we can get married at home,” Skinner-Nixon texted. “Happy tears when I read the headline.”

Tears almost rolled down Skinner’s cheeks as she read the message to a crowd that gathered Wednesday evening in front of Old City Hall to celebrate the Supreme Court’s two historic decisions impacting same-sex marriage.Continue reading »

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Berkeley couple at center of same-sex marriage trial

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A Berkeley couple is at the center of the federal trial to determine same-sex couples’ right to marry which kicked off today in San Francisco.

Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier (pictured above), the mothers of four sons, will be the public face of the debate, along with Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo from southern California.

Read more on SFGate

The trial was supposed to be recorded on YouTube, but this morning, as the New York Times’ Bay … Continue reading »

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